Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

CAREER: Hybrid Nanomaterials for Multi-Functional Sensors - Synthesis and Characterization of Nanocomposite Thin-Films for Device Applications

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorAdrienne Stiff-Roberts
InstitutionDuke University
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsSome
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorCross-cutting
Broad Research Categories Characterization
NNI identifierA1-25

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$399,998.00
Annual Funding$79,999.60
Funding SourceNSF
Funding Mechanism
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2006
Anticipated End Year2011


Intellectual Merit:The objective of this research is to enable simultaneous sensing of multiple physical phenomena for application to aerosol detection, homeland security, and medical field-diagnostic tools, for example. The approach is to use hybrid nanomaterials in a monolithic, semiconductor-based heterostructure for multi-functional sensors. Two classes of quantum-confined semiconductor nanomaterials are considered; colloidal quantum dots synthesized by chemical reactions and Stranski-Krastanow quantum dots grown by strained-layer epitaxy. The grand challenges to be addressed are: i) synthesis of colloidal quantum dot/polymer nanocomposite thin-films for optoelectronic device active regions, and ii) synthesis of nanocomposite thin-films featuring disparate nanomaterials embedded in polymers or semiconductors with atomically-sharp interfaces, dopant incorporation capability, and electrical contact layers. A multi-spectral photodiode array synthesized using a hybrid nanomaterial growth system will be demonstrated to culminate the proposed project. Broader Impacts: The investigation of hybrid nanomaterial device heterostructures for multi-functional sensors with emphasis on environmental applications addresses two 2005 NSF Priority Areas, nanoscale science/engineering and environmental biocomplexity. The proposed hybrid nanomaterial growth system enhances research infrastructure by establishing synthesis techniques for atomically-thin nanocomposite layers. The proposed activities advance discovery while promoting learning by enabling undergraduate research and enhancing the Duke University Electrical and Computer Engineering photonics graduate curriculum. The proposed activities also broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering through the Student Engineers Network, Strengthening Opportunities in Research Saturday Academy and Historically Black College and University student recruitment. Finally, the broad dissemination of results from the proposed activities will be accomplished through scientific publications and the NSF-supported digital library.